Bounding into the movie industry with all the spritely energy of a young 26-year-old filmmaker, the arrival of American filmmaker Wes Anderson in 1996 would change the independent film circuit forever. With punchy saturated colour and a polished symmetrical cinematic style, Anderson pioneered a new kind of cinema, surprising audiences with two remarkably original films, Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, before the dawn of the new millennium.
Since then, this same style has been brushed, refined and improved upon time and time again, with Anderson making eight films since the release of Rushmore in 1998, marking his very first feature film animation in 2009 with Fantastic Mr. Fox. Smart, sophisticated and lovingly homemade, Wes Anderson’s tale perfectly captures the warm magic of the original Roald Dahl novel whilst adding the director’s own quirky garnish.
Beloved by critics and audiences alike, it became instantly clear that Anderson’s sparky idiosyncratic style could be perfectly married with the vigorous animation, with the director once again returning to the filmmaking style in 2018 with Isle of Dogs as well as a short sequence in his most recent release, The French Dispatch. Where the filmmaker’s quality has somewhat fluctuated over the years, that which has always remained constant is Anderson’s remarkable animation work.
Though, where the animation of Fantastic Mr. Fox and Isle of Dogs was created using a familiar stop-motion style that seemed tightly synonymous with Anderson’s personality, the short sequence of The French Dispatch subscribed to a French animation to blend in with the film’s narrative.
Reminiscent of a similar style used in the 2010 film The Illusionist, the animation style was also influenced by the classic Belgian comics, Blake & Mortimer and Tintin, with the animation director of The French Dispatch commenting, “The animated sequence had to have a singular look, but with light references to these popular comics…But the challenge was to adapt and mix the two different references. We also had to produce simple visuals which were dense at the same time”.
Made into a live-action movie in 2011, The Adventures of Tintin brought the travels of the daredevil reporter to the big screen for the very first time, scoring fairly well with critics and audiences whilst failing to score a sequel over ten years later. So, with the franchise currently in production limbo, there’s no better filmmaker to revive the series than Wes Anderson, with the American creative capable of taking the Belgian character to vibrant new heights of cinematic creativity.
Having already demonstrated that he, alongside a talented animation team, is capable of bringing such dynamic animated sequences to life, orchestrating a short comedy-crime-caper scene for The French Dispatch that involved everything from neat visual gags to cinematic zest, the director would be a shoo-in for such an animated movie that would surely gain considerable critical and commercial interest.
Indeed, the globe-trotting, fervent tales of Hergé’s Tintin comics would make for the perfect sandpit for Anderson to flex his animation muscles, with such stories as The Shooting Star and The Broken Ear being ideal for his own electric style of filmmaking.